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Never Back Down Or How To Survive Oral Surgery

I just lost four teeth. I got into a fight with an oral surgeon.

He knocked me out with a left hook to the…  vein in my right arm. It took about 45 seconds. The last question I remember was the anesthesiologist asking me if I’m a cheap date. “Oh yeah,” I said, “One glass of wine on an empty stomach and I’m out.”

The next thing I remember is my mouth feeling like a giant cement ball and the nurse trying to help me put my long-sleeved shirt back on over my tank top.  I hadn’t been wearing it to begin with, I thought to myself; but I was too zonked to fight. She walked me into the main hallway and sat me down on a padded bench. I remember she put a cushion behind my back. That was nice. Then she went to get Ryan.

Ryan says I was really cute when he saw me – totally out of it and trying to type into my cellphone. I was updating my facebook status. I guess I’m a little addicted.

So the nurse told Ryan all the important stuff about how I’m supposed to recover from surgery and take care of the giant holes in my gums. I don’t remember much of it because all I was concerned about was getting a drink of water. I think I asked by motioning with my hands about three or four times. She patiently reminded me each time that I had to wait until I got home to get a drink of water but once at home I could drink all I want. My throat was parched. I remember the drive home feeling rather painful.

Once at home, my first attempt at drinking failed rather miserably. I couldn’t swallow.  The gauze, the numbness, the saraha desert in my mouth all made it rather difficult to manipulate my oral cavity. Bloody water ran down my shirt. I couldn’t even laugh at myself. Into the bathroom we went to switch out the gauze and try drinking with a mirror.

For some odd reason that seemed to help.

I tried downing some yogurt. No go. Ryan left to get my prescribed painkillers. When he returned I felt hungry so I asked him to make me some scrambled eggs. I ate about three bites. The egg was easy to swallow without chewing; but I guess I wasn’t that hungry yet. Ryan finished what I couldn’t eat.

So in order to pass the time while chilling my swollen cheeks, I pulled up one of the Netflix we’ve got in our Instant queue. Don’t hate. I chose, you guessed it, “Never Back Down.”

I trained in Mixed Martial Arts back in Vancouver before moving to Los Angeles. I was able to train for a few months after I moved here at Bally Total Fitness in Hollywood but work and projects precluded me from continuing. I miss training something awful and was willing to subject myself to a sub-par script just to watch the fighting. It was worth it.

Never Back Down” is a quintessential fight film. A kid moves to a new city. He’s got father issues. The cutest girl is with the meanest guy who turns out to be the new kid’s instant nemesis.  He’s got untrained talent and he needs to learn how to control his emotions. It’s typical, but at least it works.

The dialog was as poor as expected with characters spouting their emotions at unbelievable moments and cliched pep-talks popping up right on queue; but at least it moved at a quick twenty-first century pace and was well-edited. Good rhythm. One other low point for the film was the obvious soundtrack and overuse of noticeable songs.

Now on to the high points.  Sean Faris.  He plays the lead kid and looks (and acts) shockingly like Tom Cruise.  It’s not surprising to me at all to take a look at his IMDb profile and see that he’s got six films in production and one more in development. Watch this kid.  He’ll be playing Tom Cruise’s former self in a few years. Mission Impossible X anyone?

His love interest, the beautiful Scarlett Johansson look-alike, Amber Heard is unfortunately directed as a rather shallow one-note pony. Did I just mix a few metafors?  It’s the painkillers. Er, or not. I think Amber’s got a lot more in her, and again, judging by her IMDb profile, plenty of others agree, including Johnny Depp, against who she plays opposite in the upcoming “The Rum Diaries”. An actor from our film “The Rock ‘n’ Roll Dreams of Duncan Christopher” is also cast in that film – Marshall Bell. Rock on Marshall!

Back to “Never Back Down” – while the story is simple, the dialog cheddar, and the music obvious, the fights more than make up for it.  This film knows it’s a fight flick and it lives up to its sub-genre gloriously. There’s a lot of fighting in this film and it’s spaced out well.  We get to see him fight in the first scene of the film. And it’s kinda believable too. Also, the director makes interesting use of our new social phenomenon, YouTube and the like, showing us the fight again, from different angle as news of it travels across the inter-web.


Once the kid ends up in his new state, things seem hopeful, but he happens upon a little sparring session that he mistakes for a fight, thereby getting himself involved in the rat’s nest of the local passion for mixed martial arts. The rest of the fights and the training are interspersed throughout the film. They’re all well-choreographed and shot for fight-lovers. They’re shot so well in fact that I’d believe that the director, Jeff Wadlow, is a fighter. Or perhaps it’s his cinematographer, the Swiss Lukas Ettlin, who likes to fight.  Who’s to say? Regardless, I enjoyed every minute of it – the sparring, the training, the fighting. Not too much. Not to little. Just right. If you’re a fighter, or you like just mixed martial arts, you’ll enjoy the fighting in this film.

But you won’t see any teeth get knocked out. They saved that for the match with my oral surgeon today.

I’m happy that I lost my teeth by paying some stranger to knock me out and dig around inside my mouth until they were gone, rather than get in a fight. I’m really glad that I can watch a film and get the feeling like I did just win a battle and earn the respect of hundreds and the respect of my little brother and I didn’t need to get kicked in the ribs to do it. I’m rather grateful for my missing teeth that caused me to watch a silly ol’ film and enjoy some champagne grapes (cause they’re the only thing I can swallow right now).

And write. I’m coherent enough to write. Or am I? I actually haven’t taken the painkillers yet. I’m still tasting a little blood (perhaps that heightened my “Never Back Down” experience?), but I think my holes are clotting well. Maybe I’m still experiencing the anesthesia? Does it make me verbose? Does it matter?

P.S. Ryan’s a great nurse.  Tell him I said so.

9 replies »

  1. This makes me remember when I got my wisdom teeth out..they were impacted so I ended up with dissolvable stitches (gross, by the way. they come out in little pieces…). They put rabbit ears on my head in the recovery room and took a picture (yes, I am serious) and then I was carried out to the car, driven home, dumped on the couch and lived off Frosty’s for two weeks.

    Loads of fun.

  2. A Frosty Dairy Desert! What a great idea! Although I’m a little sketchy about putting refined sugar in my mouth. The grapes are one thing – they go down easy. I have frozen yogurt in the fridge though, so once I’m confident that I’m well-clotted, I may partake!

    And thankfully, my husband isn’t the rabbit-ears type. 😉

  3. Where’s the B-Roll footage of you going berserk on the gym bag, during the “Burn” shoot. That should be on YouTube or something.

    ps. If you don’t have XM Radio, you should look into it. The Laugh Attack Channel is 100% Canadian Comedy and just OWNS.

  4. It’s on Ryan’s desktop. If you pay him enough he just might brave a beat-down and post it. 😉

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